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5.30.14 CITY CHALLENGE TO ANNUAL COURT HEARINGS JEOPARDIZES DOJ AGREEMENT ON IMPROVING

The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform (AMAC)
strongly condemns the City of Portland's refusal to agree to annual status
hearings on the Settlement Agreement with the United States Department of
Justice (DOJ). The Court has indicated that, absent such hearings the Court
will reject the Agreement. The City's refusal to participate in the proposed
annual hearings -- in which the Court's authority is limited to receiving
information and merely asking questions of the parties -- is unjustified, and
is a clear rejection of the Court's continued authority over this case.
Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform
c/o Allen Temple
4236 NE 8th Ave
Portland, OR 97211

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 30, 2014


*CITY CHALLENGE TO ANNUAL COURT HEARINGS JEOPARDIZES DOJ AGREEMENT ON IMPROVING
POLICE PRACTICES *



The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform (AMAC)
strongly condemns the City of Portland's refusal to agree to annual status
hearings on the Settlement Agreement with the United States Department of
Justice (DOJ). The Court has indicated that, absent such hearings the Court
will reject the Agreement. The City's refusal to participate in the proposed
annual hearings -- in which the Court's authority is limited to receiving
information and merely asking questions of the parties -- is unjustified, and
is a clear rejection of the Court's continued authority over this case.


The City has spent countless resources negotiating the Agreement with the DOJ
to resolve the DOJ's lawsuit alleging the Police Bureau (PPB) engaged in a
pattern or practice of using excessive force on individuals with actual or
perceived mental illness, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution. Shortly after the suit was filed, the City joined the DOJ in
asking the Court to enter an order approving the Settlement Agreement and to
conditionally dismiss the litigation pending the City's implementation of the
Agreement.


The AMAC, granted enhanced /amicus curie/ status in the lawsuit, has worked in
good faith to support the entry of the Settlement Agreement, despite concerns
with the Agreement itself. The AMAC participated in mediation with all parties,
resulting in a Collaborative Agreement with the City and the DOJ in which it
agreed not to object to entry of the Agreement. Likewise, the Portland Police
Association (PPA), which was granted intervener status, entered a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) with the City and the DOJ, in which it too agreed to
withdraw its objections.


In a March 24, 2014 hearing, the Court indicated that while the Agreement was
substantively fair, adequate, and reasonable, it did not find it to be
_procedurally_ adequate. Specifically, the Court expressed concern that, once
the Agreement was entered, more than three years would lapse before it heard
from the City and the DOJ regarding its implementation. The Court therefore
proposed annual hearings, at which the parties would report to the Court on the
implementation of the Agreement. The City and PPA will not agree to participate
in these annual hearings.


The AMAC has grave concerns regarding the City's and PPA's refusal to
participate in annual hearings, despite their knowing this may result in the
rejection of the Agreement. "The Community wants to see the Court's limited
oversight over the implementation of this Agreement. The symbolism of the
parties appearing in Court just once a year before a neutral and consistent
observer, to give a status update, demonstrates the parties' commitment to
transparency, and to the checks and balances of our system of government," said
Dr. LeRoy Haynes, co-chair of the AMAC. "The limited review on the status of
compliance sought by the Court should be welcomed by the City, given the City's
assertion that it is already in compliance and on track with the implementation
of the Agreement," said Dr. T. Allen Bethel, co-chair of the AMAC."The City has
been operating under the expectation that the Agreement will be entered; it
makes no sense to negate all the work that went into negotiating and
implementing the Agreement by rendering it unenforceable," Dr. Bethel said.

The City's refusal to agree to the hearings, now requires that the parties
submit further briefing on the issue to the Court. The AMAC sincerely hopes the
City will reconsider its untenable position, before spending more of the
public's resources litigating a case involving the excessive use of force
against the most vulnerable members of our community. "The failure of the
Mayor, the city commissioners, and the PPA to accept Judge Michael Simon
limited annual review represents a missed historical opportunity to unite our
diverse communities and take a leap in resolving the rift in our city between
the police and the community, particularly communities of color and person with
mental disabilities," added Rev. Haynes.

The AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform is working toward these five
goals:
1. A federal investigation by the Justice Department to include criminal and
civil rights violations, as well as a federal audit of patterns and practices
of the Portland Police Bureau.
2. Strengthening the Independent Police Review Division and the
CitizenReview Committee with the goal of adding power to compel testimony.
3. A full review of the Bureau's excessive force and deadly force policies and
training with diverse citizen participation for the purpose of making
recommendations to change policies and training.
4. The Oregon State Legislature narrowing the language of the State statute for
deadly force used by police officers.
5. Establishing a special prosecutor for police excessive force and deadly
force cases.